The miniature Jade tree (Portulacaria afra) is a beautiful and very easy bonsai to care for, with excellent proportions and minimal watering requirements.
It’s fairly neat and compact when growing and is ideal for beginners and children to care for.
This variety has been shown to be effective in carbon absorption (binding atmospheric carbon which is responsible for climate change) and aids in the fight for Clean Air. It can absorb more carbon from the earth’s atmosphere than most other plants and is extremely efficient and effective.
It can be eaten, but apparently has a sour taste (personally I haven’t tasted it but I am tempted!) and has also been shown to have great medical properties such as aiding blisters and sore throats. The antiseptic juice can be used for soothing skin problems such as rashes and insect stings.
With lovely meanings of good luck and prosperity, I think this is the perfect gift!
An absolutely fantastic indoor bonsai variety which is incredibly easy to care for. This bonsai does not require regular watering, making it significantly easier to care for. Ideal for complete beginners and highly recommended for children. A wonderful bonsai with character and beautiful proportions.
The miniature Jade Tree (Portulacaria afra) is an indoor bonsai which has small round pad shaped leaves and a compact habit. A highly recommended bonsai for complete beginners or children who are starting out – a very forgiving tree! This bonsai requires minimal watering so is perfect for those who forget to water! A tree which originates from warmer climates, hence its adaption to require less water. If you have a particularly warm room this variety will thrive. Jade trees often feature strongly in feng shui designs and make the perfect gift symbolising luck and prosperity. This Jade Tree is very similar in appearance to Crassula ovata [the Friendship Tree, Lucky Plant or Money Tree bonsai]; they are frequently mistaken. The Jade Tree (P. afra) has smaller and rounder pads and more compact growth making it far more suitable to grow as a bonsai. It is also hardier and faster growing. This is a variety of bonsai which is far better to be barely damp. It does not require frequent watering like other varieties. It is not frost hardy but will grow very happily in your home or office. Another wonderful quality of this tree is that it is very easy to take cuttings from. Cuttings are best taken in spring or summer, then allowed to dry out for a day before potting into a very free draining or gritty compost. Keep the soil moist and in a few weeks you will have a little baby plantlet.
We believe this to be an exceptional bonsai that does not receive the credit that it deserves. An under-rated indoor bonsai variety in our opinion but one we highly recommend.
Tree meanings Bonsai in general symbolise peace, harmony, order of thoughts and balance. The Jade tree makes the perfect gift; symbolising luck and prosperity
Jade Indoor Bonsai Care Summary
Positioning & Temperature The Jade is an easy indoor bonsai species to care for. It likes a bright position, with good natural daylight, but as with all bonsai, should not be placed in a very hot position in mid-summer. It is not fussy about temperature, but it is not frost hardy so would not be suitable to grow as an outdoor bonsai during the winter months.
Watering This is very simple for the Jade bonsai. Regular watering is not essential. The soil damp be maintained just damp (i.e. water once a week).
Misting Misting the leaves of your Jade bonsai is not necessary.
Feeding Feeding bonsai trees is good practice. The bonsai rely on us to provide the nutrients and trace elements they need. A well balanced bonsai feed, such as Bonsai Direct Fertiliser, will maintain healthy and beautiful trees and promote growth, fruiting and flowering.
Pruning/Styling The Jade Bonsai is a relatively fast growing bonsai variety and is fun to prune and style. To maintain the lovely highly defined foliage pads and pretty canopy it is important not to let the shoots grow too long and straggly. By keeping the shoots trimmed, you will be encouraging back budding and new leaves to grow. Most new growth will appear during spring or summer. Allow a shoot to grow approx. 4cm and then prune back to the first two new leaves. Use a sharp pair of bonsai pruning scissors to do this. Within 4-6 weeks you can usually see signs of new shoots emerging further back down the branches, it is very rewarding.
Growing/Propagating your own Jade bonsai trees We are frequently asked for bonsai seed kits but the reality is that thee kits are rather a disappointed. They frequently don’t germinate and it is not the best way to propagate indoor bonsai trees. You are far better to purchase a bonsai, so you can enjoy growing it, and propagate new bonsai by taking cuttings. Another wonderful quality of this tree is that it is very easy to take cuttings from. Cuttings are best taken in spring or summer, then allowed to dry out for a day before potting into a very free draining or gritty compost. Keep the soil moist and in a few weeks you will have a little baby plantlet.
Re-potting your bonsai If a bonsai becomes pot bound the roots cannot grow. Consequently, the tree cannot grow. The younger the tree the quicker it is growing and the more frequently it will require root pruning or re-potting. As a general rule you are looking at approximately every 2-3 years, and older specimens every 4-5 years. If the pot that your bonsai is in is aesthetically large enough, you may simply be able to root prune your bonsai and it may not require a larger pot at all. Re-potting is best done when the bonsai is actively growing during the warmer summer months. If the bonsai requires a larger pot, simply lift the root ball out of the current pot, tease out approximately one quarter of the root ball with a chop stick to loosen the roots around the edge and position into its new, slightly larger, pot. Use good quality, free draining soil, such as Akadama, and work around the edge of the pot. Stand your re-potted bonsai in water, so that the water covers the whole pot, for approximately 5 mins and then allow to drain.
Akadama is a high quality Japanese bonsai soil made from dried loam. It is granular, so is free flowing and easy and clean to work with. The small balls also encourage the growth of lovely fibrous feeder roots, which is what we want when growing bonsai trees.
Bonsai tips Please avoid using air freshener near your bonsai, they are not overly keen! Jade bonsai trees respond well to the use of a Plant Invigorator to help keep the free from pests and help promote new growth. We use this weekly as a preventive measure.